Heavy intermittent showers poured down in Genoa last Saturday but it didn’t dampen Joy Moritz’s spirits.
In Brunner Campus, the renovated elementary school building turned community center, hundreds bustled through the former classrooms and hallways gobbling up bargains at the first ever Fall Festival.
Fifty-nine vendors from across Northwest Ohio as well as 16 mothers involved in the Mom 2 Mom sales filled the building, offering goods and services.
“Great for business,” said Moritz, who bought the building last year along with her husband Gary. “But it will kill your pocketbook. Everything looks so good. I want it all,” Moritz laughed.
One family hit the jackpot at the Mom 2 Mom sale, scoring lots of previously used games and toys for their kids. They left through the front door toting a wagon choked full, board games teetering on the top of the bundle.
Others grabbed a quick bite to eat at the kitchen area at the food booth manned by Moritz’s daughter-in-law, Kayla, and Madison Smith, both of Genoa. Hotdogs, chips and drinks were gobbled up in between the buying frenzy.
This was Moritz’s first attempt to organize such an event. Two previous craft fairs were held here by people who had leased the building space. Moritz seemed pleased with how well things were going several hours into the fest, which lasted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The set-up went smoothly and she marveled at the variety of selection. Craft and jewelry tables filled the building. But there were also a lot of unusual offerings, including high-end cutlery, herbal teas, fingernail applications and even self-defense tools.
Pam Zimmerly of Findlay manned the Damsel in Defense table. The line of women’s defense items included stun guns, pepper spray and striking tools all meant to empower women to protect themselves.
The items, reasonably priced between $10 and $50, are fashioned in powder blue, pink and black colors and smaller sizes for easier handling.
One of the more popular items, Zimmerly noted, is a $15 step off door alarm. It’s an alternative for many who cannot afford pricey security systems. If someone tries to open the door it will sound a 120 decibel alarm to wake you.
In the nearby hallway, at the front entrance, area book authors sold their wares – and offered inspiration. The $14 self-published book by Debora Gregory of Toledo follows her struggle to come to terms with the death of her daughter, T’onna. Her daughter, who had undiagnosed asthma, died in her sleep seven years ago, days before her 13th birthday.
Gregory, who works as a financial manager for Downtown Toledo Parking Authority, said she began writing in a journal to express her grief. The preacher’s daughter said the composition evolved into her book “Where My Testimony Begins” that explores her faith, grief and pain. She has just begun peddling the newly published book.
In another room stood Marilyn Berfield of Perrysburg who is a veteran of the fest and craft fair circuit.
She has worked craft fairs across the country since 1985. Her husband was a U.S. Marine so the family often moved. She liked to create crafts as part of her “me” time. It grew into a business later in life. On Saturday, her work took up two large tables and a stand up display.
One of her more popular items --- wine bottles fashioned into lamps. Some had flower themes others were emblazoned with Ohio State themes.
Her sales had been “OK” so far, Berfield said.
“Hey,” she smiled, “at least we’re inside,” nodding her head toward a nearby open door where a wall of rain pelted the sidewalk and lawn. “Could be worse.”